Arians on Pats 'D': 'Throw the statistics out'

940665.jpg

Arians on Pats 'D': 'Throw the statistics out'

FOXBORO -- Bruce Arians says there's one simple number that wipes out the woeful defensive totals amassed by the Patriots over the first nine games: 23.
 
That's the number of turnovers the Patriots have forced so far this season. And the Colts' interim head coach said Wednesday that, when it comes to evaluating the Patriots defense, one should, "Throw the statistics out because they've got 23 turnovers and when you lead the league in turnover-ratio (with) 16, you're gonna be in first place."

The Patriots have 10 picks and 13 fumble recoveries this season. They've thrown three picks and fumbled four times for a league-low turnover total of seven.

By contrast, the 6-3 Colts have forced just six turnovers all year and are at minus-9 in turnover differential. And that was before forcing three turnovers last week against the Jaguars.

Arians, the interim head coach in Indy while head coach Chuck Pagano continues recovering from leukemia treatments, has years of familiarity with the New England defense since his time as offensive coordinator of the Steelers.

"They've always been a bend-don't-break group and feasted on turnovers ever since I can remember," said Arians. "There were only a few years where they were totally dominant, but they've always been as well-coached as anyone in this league."

The Patriots are allowing 285.3 passing yards per game and 22.3 points. The second number should be higher given the yards they allow. But the turnovers intervene, says Arians.

"Interceptions, fumbles, kick returns, fake kicks, they've got it all and Coach Belichick does as good a job as anyone putting his guys in position offensively and defensively as anyone whoever's coached the game," he said.

Arians said its hard to project what impact Aqib Talib will have on the Patriots secondary. He noted the Steelers faced Talib when the corner was in Tampa and added, "I know how talented he is and he's got a good passion for the game and he'll be a great addition I think."

But Arians isn't showing Buccaneers film to his offense in hopes of preparing for Talib. 

"There's nothing that I could go show them that I know he's gonna do in this defense," Arians explained.

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.

Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard. 

Wrote Lowe:

Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.

While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month. 
 

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

bruins_ryan_spooner_120216.jpg

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

MORE BRUINS

Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.